Our WGSS Graduates
OSU's Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduates go on to make a difference in the world! From working with impoverished inner city children in New York to practicing internal medicine in a Portland hospital to serving as a state representative, Women Studies graduates put their classroom knowledge to work in order to create a better world. This page highlights some of our graduates who are using their feminist studies to empower girls and women and work for social justice.
November Rose Papaleo
November Rose Papaleo is currently in her last year of study at University of Arizona for her PhD in Gender and Women's Studies. After earning a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, a B.A. in Women's Studies, and a minor in History from Washington State University, November began her great migration to the Sun Belt via Oregon. She earned her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Women Studies and English Rehtoric from Oregon State. Arizona beckoned soon after with promises of warm weather and 360 days of sunshine. At University of Arizona, November has taught introductory Gender Studies courses and several advanced study courses on Science, Health, Technology, Race, Gender, and Popular Culture. Her new teaching project focuses on Leadership, Organization, and Gender and is largely inspired by her time at OSU under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Shaw and the former Women's Center Executive Director, Beth Rietveld. November's research focuses on the exhange between on-line and off-line relationships in academic environments.
The winners of the 2011 Judy DiStefano Scholarship
Erin Dubyak and Karlei Forrester
The first cohort of Women Studies majors graduates!
From left to right: Ashley Meade, Lena Ball, Miranda Linville, and Randa Smith. Congratulations!
Jaspal Kaur Singh
Associate Professor, World Literature
Northern Michigan University
Personal Statement: "The Women Studies classes I took as a graduate student at Oregon State University inform my scholarship at every level."
Professional Accomplishments: Jaspal Singh teaches classes on African and South Asian literary and cultural studies, African and South Asian diaspora studies, as well as multicultural and feminist literary and cultural theory at Northern Michigan University. Singh's articles and creative works have appeared in Emergences: Journal for the Study of Media and Composite Cultures and Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Source Book; Michigan Academician; Rethinking Modernity; South Asian Review: Globalization and Diaspora; In Other Words and Journal of Contemporary Thought, among others. Her book project is entitled, Comparative Postcolonial/Transnational Poetics: Madness as Resistance in South Asian and African Women's Literature.
Carly Hope Finseth
Managing Editor, Publisher, Founder
Personal Statement: Imagine this: a distance education college student, wiling away the required hours until graduation, aimless in her direction, unsure of her life's path. One semester, she decides to take a Women Studies class-partially out of curiosity and interest, partially because it's the most convenient to her schedule and will give her the appropriate type of prerequisite credits toward graduation. Little did she know that this one little class would shape her entire future.
Carly is the first to admit that taking Women Studies courses at Oregon State University was one of the best things to ever happen to her. Inspired by Professor and Women Studies Director Susan Shaw and driven by her desire to understand more about third wave feminism, Carly ended up creating a Women Studies project in which she designed an informational, women's resource web site-from scratch. Several designs-and learning curves-later, she ended up creating one of the top women's online magazines, reaching more than 150,000 readers per issue as of Spring 2006. Her creation, Empowerment4Women (www.empowerment4women.org), is now home to six editors and dozens of regular and freelance contributors, and also features the work of a different feminist artist each issue.
Carly stays busy with her work for Empowerment4Women, as well as varied freelance projects as a writer, editor, and proofreader. She also moonlights as a real estate broker for one of the largest woman-owned and -operated real estate companies in the Northwest, Bridgetown Realty.
Professional Accomplishments: Carly Hope Finseth spends much of her time pondering what she wants to be when she grows up. She alternates between days filled with cozy socks, hot tea, and meditative reflection-and others, which are loaded with caffeine fixes, high-powered lunches, and stints as a metropolitan city tour guide. When she's not sifting through e-mails, house hunting, dropping her cell phone, or sticking another reminder Post-It on her desk, Carly also somehow finds the time to write and reflect on important (and the occasional not-so-important) feminist issues.
Carly is also the Managing Editor/Publisher of Empowerment4Women, the online retreat and feminist magazine which has been her heart and soul since she gave birth to the site in 2001.
Personal Statement: "As a policy maker, I am committed to being sure that the voices of people not normally empowered in the political process are heard. Whether this is children, the poor, people with disabilities or any other group, I want to help bring their ideas and concerns into the debate. The Women Studies program at OSU helped me learn to recognize barriers to participation and inclusion for underrepresented groups. The program also helped me learn to recognize that meaningful solutions require digging deep to find the root cause of problems and challenging my own assumptions about how the world works."
Professional Accomplishments: Sara Gelser has served on the Corvallis School Board since 2001. She is vice president of The Arc of Benton County and was recently elected to the board of The Arc of Oregon. She is a member of the Corvallis chapter of Zonta, and was named Corvallis Junior First Citizen by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce in 2004. She is an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Corvallis.
Gelser's professional history includes work as a policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Human Services. She also worked as a parent educator for Linn-Benton Community College and the Oregon Parent Training and Information Center. Gelser is the founder of the FG Syndrome Family Alliance, a non-profit organization serving hundreds of families and medical professionals around the world.
Gelser was appointed chair of an interim senate working group on special education in 2000. She was also appointed to the State Interagency Coordinating Council by Governor John Kitzhaber and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities by Governor Ted Kulongoski. She currently sits on the state Dispute Resolution Board through the Oregon Department of Education, and is a member of the National Early Childhood Transition and Research Council Advisory Board based out of Lexington, Kentucky. She served as a member of the Linn-Benton-Lincoln ESD budget committee for two years.
Gelser earned her BA in history and education from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and an MAIS degree from Oregon State University.
Gelser, lives in Corvallis with her husband, Peter, and their four children-Sam, Ellie, Nicole and Maia.
Career & Academic Advisor, Gateway Student Success Center
Northern Arizona University
Personal Statement: "Women Studies has given me an invaluable education in intercultural issues such as gender, sexual orientation, religious diversity, physical ability, race/ethnicity, etc. Just as importantly it has provided me with a sense of inclusive justice, indicating the ways in which we are all interconnected and how very important our connections are. I learned so much especially from Susan Shaw, Janet Lee, and Erlinda-Gonzales-Berry, who mentored me not only developing teaching skills, but helped me to believe in myself. Since then, I've been able to teach or co-teach some university level classes. I'll be teaching graduate school prep again this Fall. I feel I am a better advisor because of my Women Studies training. Generally, I feel that I am better able to understand world events and to appreciate being a woman more than I ever could have before. The Women Studies Program at OSU is so great because of the caring faculty, professional development opportunities, and highly impactful education that actually helps you to better negotiate your place in the real world."
Professional Accomplishments: Sriyanthie graduated from UC Berkeley '91 with a BA in Psychology and worked at New College of California for 6 years as receptionist, student services/Science Institute staff, Weekend College program coordinator and Law School Administrative Director for apprenticeship and career services. She graduated from OSU '03 with an MAIS in Women Studies and Political Science. She was program coordinator for the OSU McNair Scholars Program and at the Intercultural Community Center at Occidental College. She is currently a Career & Academic Advisor at the Gateway Student Success Center at Northern Arizona University.
Director, Youth Services, YWCA,
City of New York
Personal Statement:"The MAIS program in Women Studies at Oregon State University has given me the foundation needed to think critically about issues surrounding race, gender, and class, which are relevant every day in the work that I do-I have been able to implement programs in underserved communities in a more meaningful way."
Professional Accomplishments: Meghan Barp, a native of Nebraska, currently works as the Director of Youth Services for the YWCA of the City of New York. She has tirelessly dedicated herself to urban youth and their families through strategic partnerships and community collaborations. As a result of Meghan's leadership, the YWCA was awarded a $3.4 million grant from New York City's Department of Youth and Community Development to provide youth development programs in underserved areas of Brooklyn, New York. Currently she oversees programs for girls, youth with disabilities, and co-ed programming for youth ages 5-21, serving over 700 children citywide. Prior to her work at the YWCA, Meghan worked on the 'Oregon Healthy Teen' project with Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. Meghan has a Bachelor of Science in Family Resource Management from the University of Nebraska, and a MAIS in Women Studies from Oregon State University. Her thesis focused on women directors of non-profit organizations. She recently completed coursework through the Institute of Non-Profit Management at Columbia University. During the summer of 2006, Meghan collaborated with Susan Shaw of OSU's Women Studies Program on a Feminist Organizing course, which was a great success.
Dawn M.C. Cuellar, MAIS
Women Studies and Applied Anthropology
Personal Statement: As I participated in Women Studies courses, my life perspectives changed dramatically. I shifted thoughts of internalized oppression to a broader understanding and acceptance of how gender is informed by other personal and social characteristics. Encouraged by the patience and knowledgeable leadership of Drs. Janet Lee, Joan Gross and Susan Shaw, I learned new, empowering ideas about work, language use, race, class, power and authority. These lessons inform my current work as a job readiness/life skills instructor. While teaching, I draw upon the wisdom of multiple perspectives and feminist teaching methods to create a class environment emphasizing inclusion and shared knowledge.
Professional Accomplishments: Dawn, a graduate of Washington State University, ‘86, with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, worked as a legal assistant for Seattle/Bellevue law firms for 8 years before changing careers. With an English Second/Other Language teaching certificate, Seattle University, ‘95, she began her teaching career at Columbia River Correctional Institution just prior to entering graduate school. Currently, in addition to teaching job readiness/life skills classes at a local community college, she continues to volunteer with Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization working to improve the lives of women and girls.